Friday, May 16, 2014

A Campaign With A Target Of One

Bernie Sanders is coming to Clinton County this week. That's a rare Iowa appearance by a leading sorta Democrat.

On the other hand, the Register's Jennifer Jacobs notes that Rand Paul has called at least one Republican county chair recently.
Has Hillary Clinton been calling county chairs in Iowa? Anyone? Anyone?

That kind of heavy top-level Republican presence is giving Iowa Republicans an organizational and motivational boost as we move into the 2014 - and 2016 - election cycles.

Oh, sure, we have the omnipresence of Ready For Hillary. But caucus Democrats aren't satisfied with staffers and surrogates. We expect the real thing.

So what is the deal with Ready For Hillary Anyway? Matt Bai has a theory:
So all of this Hillary machinery in Washington — four Washington super PACs and counting — really isn't coming together because Clinton gave the sign. It's happening because Washington insiders are trying to persuade their only towering candidate that the race would not only be winnable, but also relatively painless. That's the only way they can be reasonably sure that Clinton will enter the race — if she thinks the party has already essentially anointed her and that the only thing that could be standing between her and the presidency is Jeb Bush's giant head.

This is why operatives get so agitated when you say the primary field can't actually be cleared (because this is 2014, not 1868), or when you remind people that Clinton isn't actually the most charismatic retail candidate who ever lived. It's not the voters they're worried about; it's Clinton herself. They don't want anything to cloud their message that the White House is hers for the taking, if only she'll say yes.
Add to that Clinton's disdain for unscripted moments, especially with the press, and unwillingness to "swing down" and engage potential opponents, and none of this bodes well for the future of the Iowa caucuses.

But set aside my Iowa parochialism for a moment. I've got some substantive concerns with a Clinton candidacy. These were best summed up by Herself in a recent DC speech:
On Wednesday, she defended — through hawkish language — ongoing international talks with Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, an unpopular position among American foreign policy hawks.

“I personally am skeptical that Iranians will follow through and deliver,” she said. “I’ve seen many false hopes dashed over the years. But nonetheless, [talks are] a promising development. We need to test it to see what can be achieved. This is the time to give diplomacy space to work. If it does not, there will be opportunities in place for additional sanctions in the future, with the important requirement that the international support necessary to ensure enforcement will be forthcoming.”

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” she said, to applause. “From my perspective, we cannot and should not accept any agreement that endangers Israel or our own national security.”

Clinton’s speech also came in the wake of the collapse of the latest round of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

But instead of dwelling much on any missteps the Israelis might have made, she talked about the “hard choices” that will be required to reach a peace deal between the two parties, and talking more generally about the need to help leaders “carve out political space to negotiate with each other.”

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security will never waver,” Clinton said, adding with a smile: “That is not a hard choice.”
Would be nice to ask some follow up questions at an Iowa town hall, wouldn't it? Any way she can route the book tour through Prairie Lights?

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